Weather report: Scattered showers on the Plains

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In the West, mostly dry weather accompanies building heat. Northwestern heat remains favorable for summer crop maturation and winter wheat harvesting, but several large wildfires continue to burn. For example, the Pony Complex in southwestern Idaho has charred more than 140,000 acres of timber, brush, and grass.

On the Plains, widely scattered showers are providing generally beneficial moisture for rangeland, pastures, and summer crops. On August 11, topsoil moisture shortages remained most acute in Texas (76% very short to short), New Mexico (70%), and Colorado (58%). Much of the region is experiencing cool weather, although heat lingers across southern Texas and is overspreading Montana’s High Plains.

In the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails. This morning’s temperatures dipped below 50°F in parts of the northern Corn Belt. Despite favorable temperatures, soil moisture shortages continue to stress corn and soybeans in some areas, including portions of Iowa and northern Missouri. On August 11, Iowa’s topsoil moisture was rated 59% very short to short.

In the South, a cold front is producing showers and thunderstorms. Rain is beneficial from the Mississippi Delta westward but maintaining soggy conditions in parts of the Southeast. On August 11, topsoil moisture ranged from 56% very short to short in Louisiana to 34% surplus in Tennessee. Significant topsoil moisture surpluses were also noted in Alabama (33%), Florida (27%), Kentucky (27%), and North Carolina (27%).

Outlook: Heat will continue to build across the West and expand onto the northern Plains, but near- to belownormal temperatures will prevail through week’s end across the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, precipitation associated with a cold front will persist in the Southeast, resulting in 5-day totals of 2 to 6 inches. Elsewhere, midweek showers will affect the Plains and western Corn Belt, although most areas will receive less than an inch. The remainder of the Midwest will stay dry through week’s end. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for August 19-23 calls for above-normal temperatures across the northern and western U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to areas from the central and southern Plains to the southern Appalachians. Meanwhile, near- to belownormal rainfall across the majority of the nation will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the Southeast.

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